New Feature: Pledge Caps

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
By dreeves

A person wearing a literal cap that says 'pledge'

The exponential pledge schedule is a key part of the, dare we say it, genius of Beeminder. It means you quickly reach a pledge that’s highly motivating and keeps you on track for a long time. But one more exponential step beyond “highly motivating” was often “OMG too scary I quit”.

That outcome is not good for us nor you. So now you can set a pledge cap for each goal! You could do this before by unchecking the “auto-increase pledges” checkbox when you reached the right pledge, but that required too much vigilance. Now you can directly choose, in the goal settings, any of the possible pledges as a pledge cap:


 

Screenshot of the pledge cap UI in goal settings Each time you derail the pledge amount automatically increases, but only up to this amount. Set it to something scary enough that you’re motivated to never let it actually get that high! [1]


 

A premium plan — specifically Plan Bee or higher — is required if you want to set your pledge cap to $0, which of course removes the whole commitment device aspect altogether. [2] And what if your pledge is already, say, $90? Then you’ll see something like this:

Screenshot of the pledge cap UI in goal settings (with current pledge at the pledge cap)

As the hovertext explains, you have to first drop the current pledge down to select a lower pledge cap. [UPDATE: We removed that restriction. You can set a pledge cap lower than your current pledge. It just means the lower pledge cap won’t take effect until/unless you actually drop the pledge down. A warning appears if you try to do that that should make it self-explanatory.]

Did you know you can drop the current pledge back down? It turns out most people don’t notice that so let us show you:

Screenshot of the buttons to change the pledge amount

If you click that “$30” button then a countdown starts and your pledge will drop to $30 with a week delay. What about the arrow going to $270? Only premium users can skip ahead in the pledge schedule, or drop the pledge all the way back to $0. [2]


 

Footnotes

[1] But not so scary that you’d rather quit Beeminder than have that amount at risk. (The pledge schedule is steeply exponential so that you quickly get to a motivating pledge with minimal wasted money on amounts that aren’t motivating enough.)

[2] New users get a certain number of freebees, which are goals that have an initial pledge of $0, but still progress up the pledge schedule as usual, at least to $5, depending on what the pledge cap is. If you want to start at $0 and stay at $0 (or go back to $0) then you need a Plan Bee premium subscription. Or possibly you don’t want Beeminder at all in that case, and would prefer a tool that focuses just on tracking.


 

Thanks to Alice Monday for building and shipping this feature!

Image credit: zazzle.com

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